Warming trends over the Atlantic

H.D.S. Greenway, a columnist for the Boston Globe provides this piece on the same subject as Dale. He does make some interesting points that I had not really read elsewhere, at least put in the way he puts it, for example:

Now that the given reasons for going to war in Iraq have proved bogus, the Bush administration has deftly turned the table away from weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein’s Al Qaeda links toward the new horizons of spreading freedom in the footsteps of Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt. Thus the reason we went into Iraq is now portrayed as a fight for democracy. Osama bin Laden is seldom mentioned, and somewhere along the way the war on terror has become the war for freedom.

Deftly indeed. No longer is it simply an effort, as Richard Clarke would have wanted, to rid the world of al-Qaeda and stop the fundamentalist Islamic teaching in Saudi and Pakistan. But it is an effort to spread ‘freedom’, using either the threat of force, or actual force. I worry that Bush is using the word so much that it will make it a by-word, and therefore a useless word, for Republican or Neoconservative thinking. And perhaps then become a dirty word in the eyes of many.

Greenway continues:

Prior to the invasion of Afghanistan – which, unlike Iraq, was absolutely necessary for the struggle against Islamic terrorism – Bush told the Taliban he would not attack them if they disgorged Al Qaeda. In short, it was not a war about expanding freedom. It was a war against Al Qaeda. But you wouldn’t know that to hear the administration today.

President George W. Bush has found what his father used to call the “vision thing,” and it is being pulled like a rug over all the mess of Bush’s wars.

Right after the president’s inaugural speech, aides fanned out to say he didn’t plan to enforce too much freedom. And the president doesn’t seem ready to destabilize Pakistan, Egypt or Saudi Arabia for their democratic failings. The big question remains Iran, but Rice did her best to put European invasion fears at ease without taking the use of force off the table.

As did Bush today, saying that it was ‘ridiculous’ to suggest that the US was planning an invasion of Iran, but that all options were on the table. But with Syria and Iran increasingly on the PR radar of the administration, are we not likely to see at least the threat of military force on either country in the lifetime of Bush’s presidency. I would say so.